Posts Tagged ‘writing’


Posted: December 24, 2017 in Poetry
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By David Allen

Now I’ve done it.
It’s Monday
The Last Stanzas meet Friday
And I have no new poem to wow them;
My brain is as foggy
As the damp December day
Outside my home.

There was a glimmer of hope last night
When I saw an orphan poem
Sitting sadly, lonely,
On my computer’s desktop.
Hundreds of other poems
Gathered in “done” folders.
One massive file contained poems
Published over forty-two years,
Another folder bulged with poems
Prepared for my next book.
But this one poem sat alone.

I opened it and read about
My latest spinal operation
And the nurses who guided
My recovery with caring hands.
There was Tara, who would make
My pain Gone With the Wind,
And Destiny, who said I’d be fine,
But wasn’t so sure about her future.

I smiled and exhaled a sigh of relief
“I don’t think I shared this one,” I said to Myself.
“Good, now go to bed,” he answered.

But in the morning I had doubts
And called the Last Stanza leader
Just to make sure the awesome poem
Had not been shared with the group.
“Send it to me,” she said.
“Aw, it’s upstairs and I’m sipping coffee
Huddled on the couch under a blanket,” I complained.
“It was about my nursing care after my operation.”
She remembered the poem. I read it to the group months ago.
“Just write a new one,” the poetess said.
We said our goodbyes
And I pouted and pulled
At my Holidazed mind
For just a few lines.

And now, this…

It’s a week before Christmas
And all through the house
I searched for a poem
But my inner voice groused.

“Hey buster, forget it
There’s no poem here
Your gift sack is empty
There is no good cheer.

“You’re being punished
You’ve been a bad guy
You laughed at deadlines
When you were a news scribe.

“Now, you’re paying for laying
For days on the couch
Binging on Christmas movies
You’ve been a real slouch.”

“Bah, humbug,” I muttered
“Hey, I have an idea.
I’m thinking of sleeping
Until the New Year.”

I then heard a rumble
Of yells in my head
“Scram!” Inner Voice yelled
“Screw you!” Ego said.

“David still has it,” Ego announced
“Just give him a chance.
He’ll soon find a theme
And the words will dance.”

So, I drained my coffee,
My fifth or sixth cup,
And told the two voices
To shut the hell up.

Then I reached for my pen
And this notebook I filled
With this new poem
I knew fit the bill.




Musings on Scott’s Departure
By David Allen

The poets are gathered again tonight
Jet-streams of thought are taking flight
Riding on rhythms of rhyming verse,
Sometimes free-form, some long, some terse.
Poems to soothe the savage beast
Or to assist in the beast’s release.
And there’s nothing more savage on a given night
Than poems by Scott – Sir Walter’s right
On target with tomes that suck you in
Like quicksand or a desert whirlwind.
Our sorrow tonight is in Scott’s departing
Just as most of us were starting
To see the sanity in his weavings,
Like seeing the pattern in a spider’s web.
(Getting past the horror of the spider’s leavings.)
“Oh, what a tangled web he weaves!”
But now, I confess, I once did deceive
When I told him he was good –
“But not that good!”
Now with his parting I have to say
How wrong I was that beer-filled day
Let me say it now and not be misunderstood –
He is that good! He is that good.
And he’ll be sorely missed.

Cabin Serendip, Okinawa
Aug. 6, 1999

D Allen - self

The Young Writer
By David Allen

He was always jotting something down
in an old school notebook,
sitting on the front stoop
of his family’s apartment
while his friends ran by him
to play a game of stickball
in the housing project’s parking lot.
When older, the other teens,
who bragged of their JD cards,
stole cars for joy rides,
while he buried himself
in books by Henry Miller, Dos Passos,
Frost, Whitman, Ginsberg and Poe.

There was always something different about him.
Oh, he wasn’t some antisocial angelic dweeb.
He played war with sticks and mud clods
on the hill behind the Rec Center.
And he also shoplifted his share of candy
and trolled the backstreets and alleys
for soda bottles to deposit at the local deli.

The oldest of seven kids,
he chose early to disconnect from the family,
spending hours away from home exploring
abandoned houses, factory ruins,
drainage tunnels, and rail yards
where he learned to hop freights
But, unlike his friends, he wrote
about those adventures,
scribbling in long-lost notebooks,
paeans to the open road,
hitch-hiking across borders;
new rock ballads for lost loves;
observations in a new teen beat.

Sometimes, while delivering the daily
newspaper, he imagined his life
was a televised serial on some
alien planet and he’d looked up
at the sky and give the viewers the finger.
He knew they’d cut that scene,
but it made him smile.
Kerouac would like that gesture.
he thought, so would Miller.
Years later, while skating through
high school, he joined the Naval Reserves
and took destroyer cruises
to the Caribbean – the Tropic of Cancer,
while classmates stayed at home
and sang Noels under Christmas trees
and celebrated the rising of Christ.

He found his future in the Navy
when, at 18, on his two-year active
duty tour, he wrote about his ship
for his hometown paper
and was paid $35 for a full
tabloid page and a pic.
He caught the News Jones
and later spent nearly four decades
living as an outsider and getting paid for it,
while he scrawled poems and stories
that he was sure would also
be read one day.

David Allen Swabbie

The sailor, 1966

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It’s in My Blood
By David Allen

Some 240 years ago
Several Allens fought
For American independence
From the British Royal Crown.
While great x-times
Cousin Ethan Allen
Led his Green Mountain Boys
In a revolutionary rampage,
The Allen clan on Long Island’s
North Shore kept Great Neck
A rebel island amidst
Tory King’s County.
One young Allen lad
Even signed up to beat the drum
For General Washington’s troops.
And was wounded
During the Battle of New York.
So, how’s this history feel
After all these generations?
Not so free,
Not so independent.
The Democracy the
Founding fathers fostered
Has become an oligarchy.
We’re ruled by the corporate elite,
The new royalty.
Maybe it’s time for a new …

Um, maybe tomorrow,
Tonight we’re binge watching
Game of Thrones.


  Advice For College Grads


To new grads:
Don’t take any advice
Without a ton of salt
Especially from me.

So, you want to go
Into journalism?
Well, first grab
Your forearm.
Pinch it.
Then take out
Your wallet.
Feel it.
That’s your future
As a journalist.
You’ll have to be
Thick skinned and
Be satisfied with
A thin wallet.


It does no good
To piss and moan.
It’s better to just
Drink your beer
And piss.




March Mischief
By David Allen

The sun has returned,
the light’s too bright
after months of clouds.
We have lived through
several Februarys,
sun deprivation,
as the clouds and rain
dampened our spirits,
drugged us into
a somnambulistic shuffle,
merely marking the days,
the heatless hours,
cold nights in the subtropics.
Shivering, she screamed,
“Next year we winter in Guam!”
And headed undercover.
But now, all’s forgiven
as the sun warms us,
lulls us into shorts, bare feet,
ice cold beers in the afternoon,
lounging on the lawn
soaking in the rays,
building up the base
for nose blisters,
flaking foreheads.
All the while, Sol smiles
he knows the rainy season
is just weeks away.

The latest Indiana Voice Journal is out. Read your copy today!

Dark Side 2

By David Allen
The music of the universe
called to the astronauts
and it scared them.
They were on the dark side of the moon,
which blocked the noises of Earth,
when the whistling began. 

“You hear that?
That whistling sound?
One astronaut asked.
“Well, that sure is weird music,”
another answered.
“It sounds so spacey!” 

Cue the X-Files theme. 

The sound lasted for an hour,
then the spacecraft sighted Earth.
The astronauts gave relieved sighs
when the whistling was drowned out
by the multitudinous transmissions from Earth.
The astronauts decided to keep
 the space music to themselves.
No one would have believed them, they reasoned.
And it could jeopardize future missions. 

“Should we tell them about it?”
One asked his fellow spacemen.
“I think we should think about it,”
another answered.
And their story went untold
for more than four decades. 

No one realized the music
was always there.
It was just blocked
by the cacophonous
racket from


by David Allen

It’s tough to live this life
With no deadlines,
No assignments from the desk,
No editors screaming in my ears,
No restaurants to review,
No typhoon, tornado or terrible
Earthquake to document.

No ambulances to chase,
No next of kin to interview,
No one’s story to tell;
Left with my own,
Worried it’s not interesting enough
To keep the reader’s attention.

The tomorrow’s tally up
And the to-do lists become tomes
Of unfinished business,
Unreachable goals.
This is uncharted territory
And I am lost.

Hell, this is



Posted: February 7, 2016 in Poetry
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Chaos Tour 020

Benjamin David Garza, 12 Oct. 2004


By David Allen

I read the newspaper headlines
early this morning
and wanted to go back to sleep.
My nightmares
are not as crazy
as this waking world.
But then I remembered
my grandson was to be born
this day and, as I dressed
and drove to the hospital,
I despaired.
A cold fog had settled
on the gray Indiana town,
seeming to smother the present,
as my mind clouded
with the news smog
that cloaked the future.
I feared for my grandson.
What kind of weary, warring world
was he inheriting?
However, not much later,
gingerly holding my hour-old
Grandson in my arms,
I saw him smile for what
may have been the very
first time, a sign of pleasure
at the sense of touch.
And, knowing that he had no debts,
no prejudices, no knowledge of religion,
and that hate had yet to find him,
I wondered –
Is there yet hope for us?

Yardale books

By David Allen 

Sitting in the car
While my wife examines
Yard Sale treasures,
I jot down words
I hope become a poem. 

Earlier, we drove by a young man
Walking down the street
With both hands inside
The front of his pants,
Which sagged below his waist.
Couldn’t he afford a belt? 

Faded American flags
Hang in front of homes
In sore need of a
Fresh coat of paint. 

I am writing this
In a notebook
I bought in Japan.
On the cover it states,
“It is our hope
That this item will
Become your good friend
And help make your life
Enjoyable all the time.”
I hope it does. 

I stay in the car
While my muse barters
With the Yardsellers.
I work crossword puzzles
To fill the time when
Writer’s block stalls
The poem’s progress.
Maybe a word up or down
Will fill the blanks. 

Suddenly, my wife
Excitedly opens the car door
And shows me a “find.”
“Look at this forgotten treasure,”
She says. “Cost a dollar.”
It is a copy of the first book
Ever published by Simon and Schuster
“A Cross Word Puzzle Book.”
I’m puzzled it is for sale
And not on some rare books list.

Well, you may think
This poem doesn’t
Make any sense.
That’s okay
Give me two pennies
And it will.